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Growth Hormone Deficiency FAQs (cont.)

How is growth hormone deficiency diagnosed?

For children, the doctor will ask about the child's medical history. If the child's height and weight have been plotted on a growth chart, the doctor will evaluate if the child's growth appears to be leveling off or departing from the child's established growth curve. Past growth patterns are important in determining if the child has a growth problem; the earlier a problem is detected, the earlier it can be treated (if possible) and the better the chance the child has at reaching his or her full growth potential.

The doctor may perform blood tests to determine if a hormone deficiency or other disease is present. X-rays may also be taken to check how the child's bone size compares to the child's height and chronological age.

In adults, blood tests may be performed to determine if a hormone deficiency is present. Adults with growth hormone deficiency may also have increased levels of total cholesterol, low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, and triglycerides. Other tests that may be performed include CT scan and/or MRI of the brain and/or bones. Images from these tests may reveal tumors or reduced bone density.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Growth Hormone Deficiency »

Many European paintings, particularly those of the Spanish Court, portray people with extremely short stature who may have had growth hormone deficiency (GHD).

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